I have a soft spot for jellies and make them more often than my husband would like. In fact, he only recently confessed that he was not so fond of this wibbly wobbly dessert. In his family, they often make fun of British desserts and I recall someone once receiving a packet of jelly crystals at Christmas as a joke. I didn’t get the joke, of course, and the jelly crystals looked far more enticing than the bar of soap I received that year.
Such is my love for jellies that I have even amassed a small collection of jelly moulds over the years, both in metal and plastic (Tupperware make great jelly moulds), and I love nothing more than turning out a giant wobbly dessert onto a cake stand after dinner.
One of the first recipes which caught my eye from Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook was this Plum Jelly with Elderflower Chantilly. This particular jelly is made by cooking down fresh plums to extract their sweetness and vibrant magenta colour. This jelly is a sweet treat, but you could certainly adjust the sugar content, depending on the sweetness of your plums. In any event, the sweetness of any jelly is often balanced by a touch of whipped cream. Here, Rachel Khoo lends a twist by fragrancing the cream with some elderflower cordial. And for some contrast in colour and texture, the jellies are topped with some crystallised basil leaves which also adds a lovely freshness.
I loved that Rachel Khoo had made the jelly in one of those large, old-fashioned jelly moulds, which looked so elegant once turned out and decorated with quenelles of whipped cream. On this occasion, I chose to make the jellies in individual portions; this has the advantage of both looking elegant and being easier to serve. When making jellies in small portions, you can reduce the number of gelatine leaves to create a more soft-set jelly, but I stuck to the original recipe in this instance and found the texture to be pleasant with not too much bounce.
Jellies are a great dessert to make when you have friends coming around for dinner, especially since they can be made a day or two in advance. This particular recipe is alcohol-free, making it kiddie-friendly and an inexpensive dessert. And it’s a double treat for me because I get to eat my husband’s portion 🙂
To make the elderflower chantilly, simply whip 500 ml (2 cups) cream with 75 g (1/3 cup) caster sugar until you have soft peaks. Fold through about 3 tablespoons of elderflower cordial, or taste. The chantilly cream can be kept in the fridge for a few days.
To make crystallised basil leaves, lightly whisk one egg white in a small bowl. Using a clean paintbrush or pastry brush, coat the basil leaf with the egg white and generously sprinkle caster sugar onto the leaf. Place the leaf onto a clean plate and leave it aside to set in a cool, dark place (takes about 15 minutes). Repeat with the remaining basil leaves. The crystallised basil leaves should be used within a few hours.
The leftover plum mixture (squeezed of its juices for the jelly) is delicious served with any leftover elderflower chantilly to make a plum fool, or even served with plain yoghurt at breakfast.
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